TALENT — Art will continue to thrive in a space that was a hub for Southern Oregon potters for nearly 30 years.

TALENT — Art will continue to thrive in a space that was a hub for Southern Oregon potters for nearly 30 years.

Sculptors Jack Langford and Cheryl Haddock and steel and glass artist David Gelfand have moved into the 4,000-square-foot building that formerly housed Southern Oregon Pottery and Supply. The business ceased operation in August.

"We feel fortunate to be sitting on the shoulders of 30 years of good stuff they were doing here," said Langford.

The three artists previously worked out of a barn in Ashland that was not readily accessible to the public. They like their visibility at 111 S. Talent Ave.

"We have that roll-up door. People are just walking in and out all the time," said Langford. "It's a great advantage. It's meant to be a place where people can just come and visit."

Each artist worked out of an individual space in the barn. The new operation functions as a combined facility.

"There's a little bit of designation, but it's very much fluid," said Langford. "We're just doing what we can, where we can. It's not all set up. We think of it a little bit as a high school art classroom."

While Haddock works in marble and Gelfand in glass and steel, both plan to experiment in other media in the new space, said Langford.

Langford has installed his foundry operation outside. He uses it to cast his own pieces and also does a limited amount of foundry work for other sculptors.

"The foundry work is kind of simpler than people imagine," said Langford. Moving about 20 tons of marble for Haddock was a bigger challenge, he added.

Langford prefers to sculpt figures in stone or cast them in bronze. He has pieces in private collections in the Rogue Valley and displays regularly at a gallery in Kennebunkport, Maine, where he lived for eight years.

He recently sculpted a 27-foot-long, carved mahogany piece that functions as a rail at Evo's Coffee Lounge in Ashland. He worked with the owner to create the piece that represents the world of sea otters.

Bill and Bonnie Morgan ran the supply store at the site for 29 years. Bill Morgan died last month. Bonnie is leasing the space to the artists.

"It was really exciting when Jack turned up and started asking about the building," said Morgan. "When we realized he was a sculptor, we said that's really cool."

The new studio is on a part of Talent Avenue that features several arts venues in two blocks. There's a frame shop, art gallery, a camera store and photo studio, a print-making shop and Camelot Theatre.

An opening reception is planned at 4 p.m. Dec. 12 at the sculptors' studio, with art activities continuing until midnight. Langford will create a sculpture and do a bronze pour during the evening.

"We are really wanting to be a part of the village here. The whole idea of a living community is important to us," said Langford. "We don't want to be a 'chichi' gallery with the doors shut except for a few specific hours."

Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at tboom8929@charter.net.